Inspecting Zigbee Packets for dev and debug

Trying to implement a Zigbee device involves a few challenges, but things get a whole lot easier when you aren’t operating blind. I’ve got my prototype built and running, based on an nRF5340 and the Zboss stack, and also have a few commercial hubs to play with. I started out naively thinking that if I…

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Controlling a FeelTech function generator with a computer: issues and fixes

The FeelTech/FeelElec arbitrary waveform generators are cool, inexpensive, signal sources that provide a whole lot of functionality, and work well from low frequencies up to tens of megahertz. But, boy, do I hate twiddling with buttons, changing settings a single digit at a time. The answer–for test harnesses, remote control and just plain ease of…

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psypnp: powerful scripts for OpenPnP and python modules to easily roll your own

Nothing beats a scripting engine when it comes time to customize and psypnp provides both cool scripts to use with OpenPnP right away, and a set of python modules to make creating your own really easy. The project is split into two parts: a set of scripts that automate away a lot of the drudgery…

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TinyG EZConnect for Pick and Place Machines

Here’s how to build your own TinyG “EZ-Connect”, for LitePlacer or other pick and place/G-code-controlled machines. The system’s advantages over a straight-up connection to the TinyG are mainly that it: decouples the TinyG from the machine (remove, replace or share the TinyG with other installations with only two cables to muck with); hosts a few…

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TinyG Wiring System for LitePlacer

As part of my LitePlacer pick and place machine build, the wiring was more familiar than the mechanical assembly but still pretty complex. To simplify things, and to decouple the TinyG from the machine, I created a set of PCBs to handle the wiring and host stuff like MOSFET switches and jumpers to select between…

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A pick and place machine for prototyping

I really love electronics and all the challenges that come with solving problems and inventing things that have never existed before but building prototypes–especially of PCBs designed for manufacturability with tiny ICs and passives: ugh! It was fine when I was making basic circuits, but hundreds of tiny pieces, painstakingly placed one by one… Life…

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The Case for R3 Prototyping: Product Development workshop at District 3 Biohealth Innovation Week

Day 2 of District 3’s Biohealth Innovation Week (which I covered in some depth yesterday) was the main reason I registered, and it did not disappoint. There were three main events scheduled, and I attended each: Product Development for Biomed and Biotech; Regulatory process and Quality Management in Biomed and Biotech sectors; and Emerging Technology…

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PLC Quickstart for programmers and embedded engineers

This is everything you need to know to get a running start with PLCs if you’re already familiar with programming or engineering embedded systems. Programmable Logic Controllers have been around a long time and there are tons of online resources devoted to the devices but I’ve found these lacking when it comes to addressing the…

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Quick Hack: controlling remote AC switches with Raspberry Pi/any MCU

Need to control some smart home switches, asap? That’s what happened to me, so I hit the hardware store and got a set of Noma RF AC switches, with a little remote, and hacked it up to automate the action. Get all the details and a little demo in this video:

Creating an I2C slave interface for a sensor or peripheral

You’re creating a stand-alone module to bundle a few hardware sensors, or have an independent microcontroller that stays awake and needs to wake the main system depending on configurable environmental triggers. What’s the easiest way to let this unit receive orders and communicate results? An I²C slave! Inter-Integrated Circuit–I²C–is specifically designed to provide an easy…

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